Haiti’s storied coffee industry collapsed in the 1980s amid political instability and low prices. Now, it is once again seen as a promising avenue for development — but local farmers need to get reacquainted with the bean.
Ángel González, Seattle (WA) Times
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Ogisna Journal, president of a coffee cooperative in Haiti, participates in Catholic Relief Services’ Mountains to Markets project. Journal was recently at the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s annual meeting in Seattle. Mike Siegel / the Seattle Times
Enoch Télémaque, a 47-year-old farmer, remembers when the misty mountains at Haiti’s southwestern tip were among the richest pillars of a booming coffee industry.
“Everything was covered with coffee,” he said, pointing to the hills surrounding the shack where the town’s tiny coffee cooperative shelters from the rain. When he was a child, said Télémaque, raindrops meant “Everybody put on their gear to go out and plant coffee.”
Haiti was once the world’s largest coffee producer, though deforestation and neglect erased that wealth decades ago.
Ángel González: Seattle (WA) Times business reporter
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